Xbox boss Phil Spencer has revisited comments made earlier this week in which he said 1080p TV owners shouldn’t bother upgrading to Xbox Scorpio.
Yesterday the exec claimed that 4K was the central purpose of Scorpio, so those without a 4K set should get an Xbox One S instead. These comments seemed odd, as downsampling (that is, running in a game at a higher resolution than that of the screen) is a common practise for PC gamers and offers many visual benefits, not least of which is excellent antialiasing.
If you have an HDTV and you don’t have a 4K TV, should you go buy Project Scorpio? I guess some people will do that, and obviously Scorpio is going to be running the 6 teraflop version of a game, and that version of a game, even when downsampled to HD will look different than the game running at 1080p,” he told Giant Bomb, as reported by Videogamer.
"Scorpio is more powerful than the original Xbox [One], four-and-a-half times. And the 6 teraflops actually will obviously impact the games in the way they play."
He also added that while buying a Scorpio to play existing Xbox One games is not something he feels comfortable selling to the public as it’s not a leading feature, it will offer benefits.
"If you look at a game like Halo 5, that implements something called dynamic scaling, so as scenes get more complex, in order to maintain 60fps they will actually change the resolution that you’re running at,” he explained. So then if you run that game on Project Scorpio you’re actually going to be at the max frame rate of that game more often.
"I’m trying to be transparent with people about where we are in the design of Project Scorpio and what it was designed for. It was designed in order to enable these high-fidelity 4K experiences. So some of the existing games will actually run a little better if they’re using dynamic scaling, but I wouldn’t buy Scorpio to run your existing library of Xbox One games [better].”
Microsoft’s messaging this week has certainly been a little muddled, and this has led to criticism. Some of which is perfectly balanced and fair.
To reveal an upgraded version of your current console, that may or may not run games better than the standard SKU, and then immediately announce its successor, which won’t be available for a year and half, is questionable to say the least.
At the same time, how many hundreds of interviews has Phil had this week? That the odd contradiction crops up, and that the messaging does not always completely align with comments made by others, that there are slips and that the press will pick up and magnify on every inconsistently, should perhaps not automatically be interpreted as internal confusion.